Reckless in Oahu

Making the leap

Making the leap

By Danielle Vania Bonus

Hawaii was never on my radar only for the mere fact that having family in the Philippines makes island adventures affordable and much more pleasurable. But recently, I stumbled on this great opportunity to leave this ice chest of a town to visit a friend on the island of Oahu. This forced me into researching sites and attractions in the area.

I wasn’t pleased with the information given on Pinterest or TripAdvisor. Hikes through scenic trails and surfing seemed exhausting when I just really wanted to relax so, I left my friend, a local in the area, in charge of all the finer details of my trip. Little did I know that his idea of fun would be close encounters with death. I’m laughing about it now but while I was there, I might have wanted to make a few morbid phone calls to mom.

Riding around the island with a Zero brand motorcycle, we attracted a lot of attention with the locals. Motorcycle enthusiasts either considered it an overpriced version of a scooter without an engine or functional choice with a commanding torch to help maneuver around island traffic. For me at first, it was a beast ready to take my life away. I never understood the extent of my fragility until that moment. Try being on a motorcycle at 80mph zipping through H1 traffic with a windbreaker jacket partially zipped, ready to parachute you off the bike. I was terrified. However, I did catch on rather quickly. I zipped up my jacket all the way each time and learned to move with the bike. I started feeling like I was Charlotte Blackwood in “Top Gun” straddled up and cozy behind her leading man, Maverick. I’m not going to lie, I played “Danger Zone,” by Kenny Loggins a few times in my head during some of those rides.

Slide show by Michael Arguelles

My next “brush with death” was at a restaurant our Uber driver recommended to us called Arena 808. Hey, if the recommendation gave us happy-hour prices, we were down! They turned out to be generous food and alcohol, so my friend invited a few more people. Unfortunately, someone in the group may or may not have been so drunk that he shattered a glass outside where drinks weren’t even allowed. As a group, we admitted to the fault, paid for the tab, the shattered glass and offered to clean it up, but the bouncer was furious and wanted to put his hands on our friend that dropped the glass, so, I stepped in.

Now, between my friend and the 6 foot 3, 240 lbs. island dude, I held a solid stiff-arm to his chest to back him off as he was getting too aggressive. The bouncer swatted my hand and starred me down in the face ready to engage in physical contact. As scary is this could have been, I was calm and found it unnecessary when the situation had already been resolved. The GM not only saw the drama unravel but he saw his bouncer aggressively handle another woman only trying to protect the same friend. I stepped away from the young Hawaiian war tanker to have a conversation with the GM explaining that drunk people at his facility are inevitable. He has Uber drivers recommending his place passed the hours of midnight, what else would he expect? His choice of security was clearly going to be detrimental to his business and his look of concern made it clear to me that he was going to hold his employee accountable. I’m still recommending Arena 808 for drinks and “pupus.” (Hawaiian word for appetizers)

Drinks and ‘pupus’ for happy hour

Drinks and ‘pupus’ for happy hour

I almost flew off a bike, got a beatdown from a linebacker and now I was about to be tested again at the Mermaid Caves. It was only then where my friend expressed his outlook on life and said, “I feel the most alive when I push my limits to the edge.” It was already too late to back out. It was only the last few days of my trip, so I just decided to go with the flow, or I should I say tosses.

We waited for the waves to calm before making the leap. My millennial mindset to get everything on camera made the reckless decision to have my phone in hand just before I jumped and off, I went into the water with one good hand. My pro-dogpaddling skills were no match for the waves that were about to come in. The waves forced me under water, and I had to latch on to a huge rock. My friend grabbed my phone and told me to get away from the rock just before another big wave hit causing me to slam into the rock scratching parts of my legs.

Trying to make it to shore, I had to latch on to a few more rocks for quick breaths of air. One time my friend just held me up while he was under water. I knew I was going to survive, I just didn’t know in what condition.

I was all smiles by the end of the trip. It was an experience of a lifetime and I’m almost looking forward to another crazy adventure. Anyway, a little recklessness never hurt anyone.

© The FilAm 2019

‘I knew I was going to survive, I just didn’t know in what condition.’

‘I knew I was going to survive, I just didn’t know in what condition.’

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